All sales reps are well familiar with a situation when your lead pool is filled with seemingly qualified prospects from subscribers and other good opportunities but your close rates are nothing to write home about. What does it tell you? Lead qualification is required, that’s what. Prospects may have wandered onto your website and landing page for some academic or personal reasons which disqualify them as a B2B lead. Qualifying prospects at different stages of the sales funnel will point out low-quality leads you don’t need to spend your efforts on. In offline sales, lead qualification often takes place on the go when talking to a prospect and involves the following three factors:
- What’s the budget?
- Do you satisfy the prospect’s need?
- Who takes a buying decision?
Nowadays, having your sales lead generators online, you have access to vast amounts of data and metrics to use in lead generation. Use them to qualify your prospects and leads too. You can also hire Mobilize which offers Lead Generation services focused on business growth.
Lead scoring is one of the methods of lead qualification when a lead is assigned points based on their behavior online and other attributes signaling their interest in your product/service. Knowing a lead’s current level of interest in your business allows you to work only with the most promising leads. By eliminating the least promising leads you save your time and energy and improve your sales analytics. Thus the likelihood of closing a deal can be predicted. In B2B lead generation, analytical data and metrics are imperative and propelling power.
What is Lead Scoring in Lead Generation B2B?
In business-to-business lead generation, B2B leads are assigned scores from 1 to 100 on different features and attribute to determine the leads’ buying intentions. Explicit lead scoring attributes refer to buyer personas and such objective characteristics as personal information, industry, job title, company size, geographical location, level of seniority, revenue, etc. Implicit lead scoring attributes assess prospects’ behavior online (social media activity, email engagement, spam detection, downloading essential content, free trials, attending live streams, etc.). If you have a powerful CRM, it will help pick on implicit lead scoring.
Also, lead scoring includes negative attributes. If your prospects unsubscribed or stopped opening and clicking through your emails, it is a sign that they have declining or have no interest in your product and you better stop wasting your time on them.
As a result, you have a clear image of who you are dealing with: The higher the score, the more likely the lead will buy from you. The lower the score, the less sense it is for your sales reps to pursue those prospects.
Why Should You Do B2B Lead Scoring?
Whereas business lead generation is a top priority, lead scoring is an absolute necessity because of its obvious economic benefits. In business-to-business lead generation, B2B marketers use lead scoring to lower acquisition costs, increase conversion rates, and improve revenue growth. Here’s Top 3 Benefits of B2B Lead Scoring:
- Lower acquisition costs. High lead quality always reduces campaign costs. Once the data reveals the marketing channels that generate low-quality leads, you can do something about it: change a marketing strategy; invest more in the channels that bring in high-quality prospects, etc.
- Higher conversion rates. Identify the most promising leads and have the sales reps focus on them. Delete all non-responsive prospects from the database and adjust the marketing strategy for medium-commitment prospects.
- Higher revenue. The above-mentioned benefits naturally result in doubled and tripled revenue.
Also Read: Website CRO Case Study By Convertica for Lead Scoring.
How to Score a Lead in B2B Lead Generation
Whether you do lead scoring on your own or you hire a B2B lead generation agency, there are definite steps required to take to create an effective lead scoring model for a business.
#1. Develop or Upgrade Your Business’s Buyer Personas
Your target audience is most probably divided into subgroups. Develop those subgroups into ideal customer profiles pointing out their behaviors, selling points, pains, etc. Once you have a clear understanding of multiple buyer personas for your products/services, you will understand how to align your sales strategy with them. Identify attributes and data points for each buyer persona by analyzing the explicit and implicit scoring mentioned earlier. The leads who will have a higher score will have a higher conversion.
#2. Get Data from Your Sales Teams
Sales teams can provide information on closed deals and direct communication with customers. By talking to your sales teams you can flesh out the numbers you get from metrics and analytics as sales reps get into close contact with those who actually make a purchase. Thus, you can make some generalized assumptions on what kind of customers accept your deals most willingly and what offers are snatched very quickly. Review your closed deals and find out common characteristics of your buyer personas. Analyzing the most common failures to close a deal will also bring you valuable data points on what aspects of your marketing and sales strategy should be enhanced or reconsidered.
#3. Make a List of Scoring Features
While you were doing research and analyzing the data, you gathered a list of data points. Not all of them are required for each buyer persona’s lead scoring. Depending on your business needs and each buyer persona, add or remove some points and attributes. Keep in mind that each point should be connected with a conversion. The higher the value, the better conversion. Remember to include negative scoring too. Those prospects who are uncertain or inactive should be flagged and addressed or removed.
#4. Assign Score Values to Each Data Points
Create fixed guidelines to quickly determine whether a lead is a good fit for your offer. It is up to you to assign a specific point value to each behavior or characteristic of a lead. For example, you may assign 5 points for a hundred employees and your lead will get 15 points in the company size category for having 300 employees. For ignoring your emails you may assign -10 points and for deleting your emails without reading -20 points.
#5. Practice and Refine Lead Scoring
Although you developed fixed guidelines for lead scoring, the scoring formula is not fixed at all times and for all personas. If you come across a data point that will better reflect the lead qualify, add it to the list of attributes. Run lead scoring on a regular basis to reflect how your business-client relationships change over time. If implicit scoring attributes inform you of declining interest in some leads, address it immediately and either bring them back into the fold or remove them from the emailing list to improve the conversion rate.
Who Should Do Lead Scoring in the Company?
From the description above it is quite obvious that lead scoring requires a knack for working with metrics and some knowledge of technology. Lead scoring can be done manually but it in fact is closely linked with CRM and other marketing software tools. Regardless of your tools for lead scoring, you have probably by now realized that it is teamwork.
Essentially, any manager or the head of sales and marketing involved in lead generation can do lead scoring in a small-scale company. Larger companies usually assign a CRM manager or global marketing automation lead. However, lead scoring is always a joint effort of several teams – sales and marketing – who use technology and real-life experience of interaction with clients. Get input from multiple employees and teams and then assign one person who will bring it all together.
So, why do we need lead scoring? To clearly see the prospect’s journey down the sales funnel. Then we know what action to take in order to expedite the lead toward closing the deal. Lead scoring allows you not to waste time and budget on the least promising prospects. Instead, you focus only on those who are ready to buy. The lead scoring methodology helps you segment your lead generation properly and increase revenue. Essentially lead scoring enables you to personalize your promotional campaigns and offer propositions as best as possible. Effective lead scoring results in an increased conversion rate. If you are only contemplating tipping your toes into the murky waters of lead scoring, consulting lead generation professionals. No more guesswork for your marketing and sales teams. Integrate lead scoring in your marketing methodology right now.